METHAMORPHOSES OF AVANT-GARDE: VLADISLAVA IAKOVENKO
In most of the cases, Art history books represent an orderly panorama of the linear development of various artistic styles and movements, attempting to form them up in chronological order, one by one. But such generalized scheme doesn’t take into account numerous nuances of art history periodization, like parallel existence of Gothic and Renaissance, simultaneous emergence of Classicism and Baroque, not mentioning the fusion of all movements and trends, known as ‘avant-garde of the 20th century.’
However, there’s an alternative view, which perceives the entire art process as oscillation of a pendulum between major poles of the artistic means. One of such global oppositions is the opposition of linearity / picturesqueness of a piece. Famous contemporary art historians, Hubert Damisch and Rosalind Krauss, explored the interrelation between image and surface of a canvas in the works of different epochs. Both scientists have articulated their personal comprehension of painting’s essence; the joining of their ideas shapes up an integral picture of the pendulum movement between two form-building conceptions – of /cloud/ (creating illusion of depth and space) and grid (accent on the flatness of image).
In her works, young Ukrainian artist Vladislava Iakovenko aims to find balance between these two methods. Being unsatisfied with mimetic and narrative character of Academic art, she follows the pass of avant-gardists of 1910s – 1920s. It was exactly the time when painting looked for the answer concerning the essence and uniqueness of its own language. This led to the radical shift from the plot to the visual qualities of a canvas: masters were enchanted with the absolute self-sufficiency of compositions, texture, and colour. They rejected the attempts of objective depiction of the reality after realizing the value of their own worldview.
Vladislava herself points out the connection of her pieces with Suprematism, though they are closer to the aesthetics of Orphism, which had originated in French art in 1910s. Despite inheriting the principles of geometrization of forms and exaggerated flatness of image, typical for the oeuvre of Malevich and his followers, the artist pays main attention to the poetics of colour. As well as the orphists, she ‘sculpts’ space and varies its depth and density through hues, its intensity and combinations. “Simultaneous contrast is the most up-to-date honey of this technique in this field. Simultaneous contrast is visible depth – Reality, Form, construction, representation. Depth is the new inspiration,” as Robert Delaunay wrote in his notes, the founder of Orphism.
Vladislava applies the mentioned methods of Abstract painting working on figurative compositions. She ‘grows’ a sort of painting crystal, mosaic of pure forms and lines that blends into familiar images – landscape, portrait, nude. Complicated structural and colouristic scheme adds the artist’s pieces certain dynamism, typical for our days; at the same time, they seem to remain in timelessness.
Yet, in some of the paintings, the traces of reality become rather tangible. The events of recent years on the Motherland that has affected Vladislava’s life, prompted her to create several collage works dedicated to the Revolution of Dignity and war on the East of Ukraine. Painting was combined with photography and newspaper clippings that allow depicting tension, deep dramatism of the situation and personal experience of the author.
Doubtlessly, Vladislava Iakovenko is still searching for her creative identity, however she has already made herself known. The painter has analyzed the heritage of avant-garde and its philosophical background, interlacing it organically into contemporary context and avoiding the intentional epatage and spectacular nature of contemporary art.
Brief biography: Vladislava Iakovenko was born in 1988 in Makiivka (Ukraine). In 16.06.1988, she had graduated from Dontesk Art school; after that she continued her education in Kharkiv State Academy of Design and Arts (2007-2011) and Kyiv State Institute of Decorative and Applied Art and Design named after M. Boychuk (2011-2013). She lives and works in Bratislava (Slovakia) and Kharkiv (Ukraine). An active participant of international art and social projects, and plein airs.